SBD/21/Franchises

ANIMOSITY LINGERS IN POSSIBLE SALE OF PIRATES

     Reports last week of Pirate ownership taking offers from
out-of-state buyers has further fueled "the acrimony" between the
administration of Mayor Tom Murphy and team ownership.  The
animosity "isn't contrived," according to Ron Cook in this
morning's PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, and "it could derail the sale"
of the team to Adelphia Communications Chair John Rigas.  Murphy,
with Pirates Chair Vincent Sarni's approval, endorsed Rigas as
the city's best potential buyer, but after months of
negotiations, "there is still no sale."  Cook writes that "the
more [Murphy] tries to pressure the Pirates' board into a deal
for Rigas, the more damage he might be doing."  Now Murphy is
afraid Rigas may walk away from the sale.  Cook:  "Could you
blame Rigas?  Who needs a baseball team that badly?"  Members of
the Pirates board claim that Rigas will not pull out, and that he
"has a vision of the franchise's value skyrocketing" if the
owners win the strike and a new stadium is built.  Cook writes
Sarni "appears to have the same vision, which is why he is so
hesitant to do a deal with Rigas that could short-change the
current owners" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/21).
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Franchises, Pittsburgh Pirates

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